Let our elected representatives know what we think.

The email

Dear Bryan

I am writing in relation to your walking and cycling portfolio on Wellington City Council.

I live and work in Wellington, and mainly travel around town by bicycle. In the 18 months I have been cycling I have noticed a big increase in the number of people cycling as a means of transport. However I see very little in the way of infrastructure development to support  increased participation in cycling. I have read the councils cycling policy document. While there is little in this I wish to disagree with, as far as I can tell it  amounts to words only, with very little action.

I am aware that the council is reviewing parking policy. I see parking, and the volume of private motor vehicles in the city as very closely linked to the perception of Wellington as a dangerous place to cycle. Cheap and lenient parking regulations will simply encourage more cars into the city centre. This is not the vision I have as a clean, welcoming, liveable and visitable city.

I would like to suggest that the changes in parking policy could be coupled to improvements in cycling infrastructure. There are several busy roads where I feel kerbside parking should be removed completely and the space used for a dedicated cycle lane. These streets are: Kent and Cambridge Terrace, Riddiford Street, Courtenay Place, for starters.

Another suggestion is to switch the position of parked cars and cycle lanes so that the cycle lane is next to the footpath. Parked cars are a real hazard to cyclists, as drivers commonly open doors into the path of cyclists without looking. Our current road lay out sees cyclists placed between the parked cars and the traffic stream. Why not position the cycle lanes between the footpath and the parked cars, and allow the parked cars to protect cyclists from moving vehicles? We are currently using cyclists to protect the parked cars from the moving ones!

I don’t believe that buses and cyclists sharing the bus lanes is safe at all. The vehicles on the road that I feel most threatened by as a cyclist are buses.

I know so many people who would love to cycle for short trips or commuting, but are discouraged by the apparently dangerous roading environment. The City Council has a real opportunity to show great leadership here, and create a great pedestrian and bicycle friendly city.

Please would you let me know what you, and the council will be doing to create a pedestrain and cyclist (i.e. people) friendly environment. I have read the Cycling Policy document, so would appreciate a considered response.




The response

Hi Lesley,

Thanks for your email. As you may be aware this is a new portfolio and as I’m also chair of the Funding and Activities working party, I will respond in more detail once we have completed our review but in the mean time I will be talking to the Mayor and fellow Councillors about your concerns.


Bryan Pepperell



6 thoughts on “Let our elected representatives know what we think.

  1. atom

    do we really want to be riding along the passenger side of parked cars? as much as drivers often don’t look before opening their doors, passengers (often children) are more likely to open their doors without looking. i’d rather take the lane than “hug” a line of parked cars, especially on the passenger side… unless there’s a a barricade that will stop a door from opening in front of me.

    and why do people drive cars? do they see it as more convenient than public transport? if so, then public transport needs a facelift and we’ll see private vehicle use decline. the ~other~ side of the coin is making the use of private motor vehicles less convenient.


  2. Pingback: Wellington City Council’s response: the story so far : Cycling in Wellington

  3. Pingback: Wellington City Council’s response: the future : Cycling in Wellington

  4. MichaelT

    Good on you, Lesley, for writing to Bryan Pepperell.
    However, on the point of cycle lane positioning, although being separated from the main stream of moving vehicles sounds attractive at first, I must agree with Atom. I wouldn’t want to use a cycle lane that was positioned between parked cars and the gutter/kerb.
    As well as the issue of passenger door opening there are other issues that need to be considered: (a) unless there was a physical barrier, a vehicle arriving/leaving the parking position might well be manoeuvred into the cycling lane temporarily during that process. (b) a cyclist in such a cycle lane may be less visible to vehicles turning across the lane at a junction. (c) cyclists turning right need position themselves (to the right or in the right hand lane) before reaching the junction and so quite possibly before car parking stops (indeed it may continue unbroken for a T junction)


  5. Lisa

    If I’m going to be hit by a car door, I’d rather it was on the side that knocks me on to the footpath instead of out into the traffic. As a lesser of two evils choice, of course. If you look at the video here you can see how the issue of door/manoevering space is solved.

    I’d imagine that as a matter of planning commonsense, the parking zone would end in time for the bike rider to be seen at the intersection. Advanced stop boxes with a lead-in lane (the extension of the bike lane, in this case) solve the lane-change problem.

    For more comprehensive solutions, have a look at the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide


  6. atom

    @lisa – here in NZ it seems that people get doored and (at least what i’ve been reading lately) get knocked into traffic and run over. in other parts of the world people get doored and (sometimes) suffer fatal injuries either from hitting the door or hitting the ground. i guess the odds of surviving may be better if one is being knocked away from traffic, but it’s still not good.

    another thing to bear in mind: if you hit the door, you’ll likely go over the bars. if your bars hit the door, or the door opens into the side of your bike, you’re more likely to be thrown sideways (into traffic). almost enough space could be worse than not enough space.


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